Joint statement from Maniapoto Māori Trust Board, Otorohanga District Council, Waikato District Council, Waikato Regional Council, Waipa District Council and Waitomo District Council.
A historic Waipa River joint management agreement between the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board (MMTB) and five local councils has been signed at Te Kuiti Pa today.
Standing left to right: Simon Friar, Dynes Fulton, Allan Sanson, Eddie Neha, Grahame Webber, Allan Goddard, Alan Livingston, Dale Williams, Weo Maag, Ray Wi, Brian Hanna, Janise Eketone, John Kaati.
Seated left to right: R. Tiwha Bell, Peter Buckley.
This is the first time an iwi has signed a joint management agreement involving more than one council under the new Crown-iwi co-management arrangements for restoring the quality and integrity of the Waikato and Waipa rivers.
The councils involved in the new agreement with Ngāti Maniapoto are Otorohanga District Council, Waikato District Council, Waikato Regional Council, Waipa District Council and Waitomo District Council.
The agreement involves the partners working together to protect and restore the health of the Waipa River and relates to Ngāti Maniapoto interests in the Waipa River catchment from the source at Pekepeke Spring.
“For Maniapoto the personification of the Waipa River is called Waiwaia. We look forward to working with our council partners, industry, and the wider community in restoring the quality and integrity of the Waipa River,” said board chairman Tiwha Bell.
“This is about the protection of te mana tuku iho o Waiwaia, the ancestral authority and prestige of Waiwaia,” said Mr Bell.
Waikato District mayor Allan Sanson is looking forward to developing the partnership with Ngāti Maniapoto. “It is exciting for us in the Waikato district to have the opportunity to work with the iwi and our council partners to restore the waters of the Waipa River. Our Joint Management Agreement with Waikato-Tainui for the Waikato River has been a success, and I can see us developing a similarly positive relationship with Ngāti Maniapoto as a result of this historic agreement.”
Waitomo Mayor Brian Hanna said: “With the signing of the agreement there is an exciting opportunity for my council to work collaboratively with the other partners in a variety of different ways to improve water quality throughout the Waipa River catchment.”
Waipa’s mayor Alan Livingston said the agreement would strengthen the already strong partnership between the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board and his council. “The board is also to be complimented in working proactively with the involved councils in developing an agreement that is identical for all councils. The outcome of this agreement is not just a common goal of the effective restoration of the Waipa River and its catchment but also the opportunity to consider other issues of mutual benefit.”
Regional council chairman Peter Buckley said he had been impressed by the very professional approach Ngāti Maniapoto has brought to the discussions over the agreement. “We believe we have jointly developed with Ngāti Maniapoto and the other councils a very sound structure for moving forward together.”
Staff from all partners developed the agreement under the direction of a joint committee, made up of the mayors from the district councils, Mr Buckley and MMTB trustees.
The agreement provides for:
In practice this means that Ngāti Maniapoto will have a key partnership role in the management of the Waipa River and its tributaries.
“In some ways the JMA reflects the positive relationship that already exists with councils within our rohe (region),” said MMTB chief executive Janise Eketone.
“The JMA provides an excellent opportunity to formalise this relationship and provide clearer guidance for future generations.”
Signatories to the agreement are: